The Sun Goes Camping (Psalm 19:4c)

In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. –Psalm 19:4c

“Oh, those silly, superstitious people. Do they honestly believe that there’s a tent up there in the sky or that the sun needs a tent to live in? How absurd.” While this quotation does not record the actual words of anyone I’ve ever heard, it does capture the basic attitude of some of our current atheist set. These self-styled “free thinkers” and “sceptics” have latched onto a very literal view of life. If their yardstick cannot measure it, then it does not exist.

In the early going of Hamlet, the prince points out his friend’s excessively skeptical nature. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” So it is with the Psalmist and the sun. Did David truly desire to personify the sun, thinking that it lived in an enormous tent that formed the canopy of the heavens. “The canopy! There’s another one. How ignorant are these Bible readers?” I rather think David more sophisticated that that. He is, after all, writing poetry. Inspired poetry, yes, but poetry nonetheless.

Part of what the heavens speak forth throughout these verses of Psalm 19 is the greatness of God in contrast with the smallness of Man. The God who placed each of the stars and planets in its place, who created a dwelling place for something as essential and powerful as the sun, can do anything He desires. By contrast, can Man reach those stars that God cast around the sky so effortlessly? Can Man stop the progress of the sun in the sky? “Foolish people! They take the idea of Joshua stopping the sun in the sky literally!”

When I listen to the message of the heavens, I learn two very important lessons. There is a God, and I am not Him. When we limit the world we will accept to the world we can fully explain and comprehend, we dwell in a far smaller tent than the metaphorical one that David suggests for the sun.